Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Non-Fiction Picture Books Celebrate Action

Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books!  I always learn from these books, am happy that they are more and more available today for children, for everyone!

        Here are two books that care, about children and animals who have different needs, as we all do!

          A beginning analogy shares “Each of us grows in our own way,” says Sonia, a young child based on the author, as she and her friends plant a garden. Just as each plant has a “different color, different shape, and different purpose,” kids are like that, too. Rafael López and Sonia Sotomayor have teamed up to tell about children of every part of the world who do things in their own ways, like all the rest of us. Sonia begins with her own actions needed because she's diabetic, and how she noticed that others thought she was doing some weird things when she gave herself her insulin shot. She suggests that if one sees someone whose actions seem new or different, "Just ask." However, she also offers that some don't like answering questions and need respect for that, too.
          López' drawings add to Justice Sotomayor's ideas by showing diverse children living lives in varied ways because of who they are. And, she surrounds them with the bursting colors of a garden, a park with trees, flowers, birds, and action!
         An introductory letter begins this story, and along come the children, introducing themselves along with ending with a question? (Just ask.) For example, "Do you ever need to take medicine to be healthy?" is followed by a boy who has asthma, using an inhaler. But, like others, he's also shown as a painter, a regular boy! The page connections connect in creative ways. This boy asks, at the end of his story, "My inhaler is like a tool to help my body. Do you use a tool to help your body?" Then--the next page introduces Anthony, a boy in a wheelchair who shares, "Even though I can't run with my legs, I can go super fast!" He asks: "How do you get from place to place?" Each child does what Sonia Sotomayor advises: "Just ask!"  It's a wonderful overview of differences that children might wonder about, or might connect to themselves.

         It's hard to imagine how Lindsay Moore manages to write in the voice of a sea bear, somber, serious, filled with the self-knowledge one needs for survival, but she does invoke its strength and knowledge in this poignant story. These words she chooses filled me with sadness as the bear itself, telling how life is, is patient, full of hope. This sea bear is trying hard to survive, following the sea ice as much as is possible. It swims for days one time in order to reach land. There are no small ice floes on which to rest. He swims with narwhals, over whales, past walruses, through a storm, and finally there is land. The illustrations in blues, whites, a touch of green swirls like the ocean, in and around the bear. It is his home and it is changing!

       Lindsay Moore adds a page with further explanation and small parts about the other animals "above and below the ice". These few words are all that's needed to show one part of the effects of climate change. What a compelling and beautiful book.


  1. I love both of these books!
    I think Just Ask is so powerful to have discussions about with young kids. I did update my review of it once it was pointed out that the word "disability" is never used, almost making it seem like a "bad" word. Thought that was interesting.
    Sea Bea has been a huge hit with our readers.

    1. Yes, I loved Just Ask & know what you mean about 'disability', hence I didn't use it though she does. I'm glad to know about your students and Sea Bear. It is a lovely story. Thanks, Michele.

  2. I haven’t seen either of these, Linda, but they look and sound lovely and full of hope. As you do, I love books about hope! 😊👍🏼

    1. I do, Vicki, & enjoyed the messages from these books so much. Thanks for coming by!


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